Aerospace grad student receives top fellowship

Aug 23, 2019

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

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UCLA aerospace engineering graduate student McKenna Davis has received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, considered one of the country’s most prestigious honors for graduate students at the outset of their studies. The fellowship program is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, and the Office of Naval Research, under the direction of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering.

Fellows receive three years of tuition and fees, a $3,200 monthly stipend, and a $5,000 travel allowance. Davis was one of 166 graduate students across the country to receive the fellowship in 2019.

Davis researches electrospray thrusters – a form of electric spacecraft propulsion used for very small, precise movements which features many charged fluid jets organized in a gridded array. Specifically, she develops models of the droplet dynamics inside electrospray thrusters with the goal of improving their performance and durability.

Davis is advised by Richard Wirz, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. She received bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee.

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